Tyler Perry’s “Temptation” described in one word: Compelling.
Perry outdid himself with this stunning story of seduction, deception and betrayal, all resulting in a most tangled love triangle.
“Temptation” tells the story of infidelity gone wrong when a happily married marriage counselor commits adultery with a handsome client — a decision that turns out to be the biggest mistake of her life.
The movie begins with a marriage counselor speaking to a young woman on the verge of having an affair. To encourage her patient from making a horrible decision, she tells the story of a young woman who was in the same predicament, someone very close to home, “her sister,” as the counselor describes.
The audience is then introduced to couple Judith (Jurnee Smollett-Bell, who was in “Selma, Lord, Selma” and “The Great Debators”) and Brice (Lance Gross, who starred in Tyler Perry’s “House of Payne”), who were childhood sweethearts. They seem to be the perfect couple with big hopes and dreams. Judith wants to start her own marriage counselor practice and Brice wants to open his own pharmacy.
Even though she has a masters degree, she settles for a job at a matchmaker service owned by Janice (played by Vanessa L. Williams, who starred in “Soul Food” and “Shaft.”) While working there, she encounters a handsome millionaire, Harley (Robbie Jones of the tv show, “Hellcats”), who’s considering investing in Janice’s company. Judith’s boss immediately assigns her to be Harley’s liaison.
Almost immediately, Harley becomes interested in Judith and the twosome starts to become very close. Judith confides in him when she felt her marriage was falling apart. After all, it’s rough when your husband forgets your birthday in two consecutive years. She also feels neglected and turns to Harley for comfort, if you will.
One late night at work, Harley makes suggestive comments to Judith regarding her marriage’s sex life, much to her dismay. She resists his ongoing advances for as long as she could.
Not until the pair’s business trip to New Orleans, where things started to heat up and take a turn for the worst. The conversation about “what their dreams are” started the ongoing affair. She replied that she has dreams of opening up her own marriage counselor practice and when she asked him the same question, he simply replied, without hesitation, “you.” When he moves in for the kiss, she rejects him. He starts to become more aggressive with his advances, while she’s yelling for him to stop, but eventually gives into the temptation, one of the Seven Deadly Sins and yet, somehow, one of the most classic storytelling themes of all times. Think Anthony and Cleopatra just for starters.
The acting performances of all three leading characters, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Lance Gross and Robbie Jones are brilliant. Smollett-Bell impresses as she transforms her character from the beautiful, ambitious, loving wife to a heartless, coldblooded and gullible woman in the blink of an eye. As Judith, Smollett-Bell unleashes her inner Diane Lane’s character poor choices that leads her down the path of lies, deceit and suspicion.
Gross is exceptional in his role as a loving and likable husband who is unaware of his wife’s unhappiness. I found myself sympathizing more with him than Judith. Jones stole the show as the abrasive, manipulative jerk who manages to make Harley pull off being likable and despicable at the same time.
Though in a small role, reality star vixen Kim Kardashian’s performance as a snooty fashionista, is so undeniably cringe worthy, I couldn’t help but laugh at her. Even though some of her lines are actually hilarious, her attempt at acting is even more preposterous. Kardashian’s character is not much different from her real-life persona. I bet she didn’t have to audition for the role.
The film is rated PG-13 for sexual content, some violence and strong allusions to drug use.
“Temptation” is one of Perry’s most powerful films so far. Even though the storyline fell flat at times including the anti-climactic ending, he never ceases to amaze me. His films are always rated poorly, but every movie he’s made has a powerful message for his audience to learn from. This one is no exception.
Cheating has its consequences, which Perry shows in his latest project. Words of encouragement: Think before you cheat.
By Samantha “Sammi” Bolden, staff writer
Samantha “Sammi” Bolden is a junior majoring in journalism.